Beeminder Forum

Figuring out this Complice thing

I don’t think Complice has any forums, so at risk of spamming you all, I thought I would try to get some tips.

  1. Does Complice have any ability to view other people’s goals? When I was new to Beeminder I found it useful to browse other people’s galleries but I can’t find a way to see anyone else’s Complice stuff.

  2. I need advice about scope for Goals vs Top Priorities vs Intentions. Since an intention needs to be done today it is presumably something small. Should a Top Priority resemble an intention? Where do you track what your 2nd Priority is, or are you supposed to think about the Goal from scratch whenever you complete the current Top Priority?

  3. It seems like there’s a lot of secret tricks to the Outcomes section, which incidentally doesn’t seem to have a tutorial. There’s magic highlighting related to ==== but certain prefixes result in your entry getting deleted whereas other ones result in sorting. I see that prefixing + or - make things italic or not and change some of the numbers in various places, but I’m feeling pretty clueless.

  4. Is there any kind of mobile app? I can’t find one, and so I don’t think I would ever be able to use it for pomodoros at home. I don’t see any mention of an API or an IFTTT channel so I don’t think I would be able to push Beetimerdroid values back into Complice either.

Anybody else have any other questions or suggestions? :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Complice founder here :slight_smile: I don’t have forums, and I agree that swiping the beeminder forums for this makes lots of sense (particularly today).

  1. Complice does have this but there currently isn’t much of a mechanism for discovering that other accounts exist and by extension how to see them. I’ll give my profile as one example (note that I have 8 goals total; 2 are only visible to logged-in users and 2 are only visible to me and my partner). If other Complice users see this they can give links to their profiles here too.

  2. Could be either. Sometimes Top Priorities are actually just intention-sized, like “do this thing [that’ll take 1-2h]”. Other times for me they’re stuff like “this bigger thing that will comprise 3-10 intentions spaced over several days”. More on top priorities here.

    There’s no way to store a second priority, which is part of Complice’s general duel with staleness. Staleness is the thing where you end up with a list of things to do that doesn’t actually represent your best understanding of what to do. Ultimately I’m hoping to introduce more planning &prioritizing features into Complice, but until I figure out how to do that without things getting stale, I’m keeping it quite constrained.

  3. Yeaaaah, the outcomes thing is the main thing that needs improvement right no, onboarding wise. The tricks aren’t really secret though, they’re explained in and around the box. Ohhh, unless you submitted your outcomes from the dashboard, in which case you wouldn’t’ve seen the explanation. My guess is that’s what you did. Hmm, yeah, I need to handle that situation.

    Anyway, in short, a - means that you didn’t do the item, + means that it wasn’t part of your intentions but was an extra thing you did, and no symbol there means “I did this thing I intended to do”. The ==== is the way of saying, per goal, was what I did today enough to get me where I need to go. A kind of subjective yellow brick road assessment.

  4. There’s no API yet but I got OAuth2 working (for the chrome extension) so it wouldn’t be too hard for me to set up an API (I’m expecting something will happen on that front by the end of the year… depends in part on the demand). So, if you’re potentially interested in coding on it, let me know!

I appreciate you taking the time to check it out :blush:

2 Likes

Thanks for the quicky reply!

Doh, I tried https://complice.co/malcolm/ and https://complice.co/dreev/ to no avail. :smile: . Thanks for the example.

Also, when I am viewing your profile I see a tab labeled Reviews that links to a page for my account that appears to be otherwise hidden. If the tab is meant to be hidden until I’ve been a user for a week, it appears to be based on the user-being-viewed rather than the user-logged-in which would be a bug.

Hmmm, so this is interesting. I have been using the Mark Forester FVP and staleness does seem to plague it. I use it for work and my job is very interrupt driven, so I actually only use FVP when there’s no fires burning. But that does lead to staleness for things in the queue a lot of the time.

Is there another place to submit outcomes? I saw it on the Dashboard tab but nowhere else. Or does the Today tab change over to Outcomes at some point? Right now the Today tab is asking me about tomorrow’s intentions.

You’ll have to forgive me for a stupid question, but it looks like the intention list is immutable (or at least append-only) so is there a difference between deleting a task from Outcomes and marking it with -? I mean, it looks like the system could figure it out for you. Or, if you add a new task to Outcomes, isn’t it obvious that it wasn’t in Intentions if you diff the two? I guess I am wondering why that bookkeeping is manual.

Does it actually parse the string “enough” / “not enough” to do something with it? I am trying to make sense of your grid of numbers at https://www.dropbox.com/s/cbl1fmvr85sfk2a/Screenshot%202015-11-10%2022.42.25.png?dl=0 . The hover text doesn’t tell me what the background highlighting means, but it looks like the darker colors correspond to “enough”. Does it have to start with the string literal enough to get the special background?

Does enough/not-enough feed into stats somewhere? It doesn’t look like you can Beemind it?

There also seem to be stars on some tasks. Do the star tasks do anything besides being treated differently by the Beeminder integration?

Well, it’s my first nature to try to envision what it would look like to use the tool to run my life. I currently use the Beeminder Timerdroid and the Strict Workflow chrome extension for a lot of things, so I am trying to imagine how Complice would replace them or integrate with them. Maybe it’s not the right way to think about it.

What happens to Pomodoros assigned to Intentions? I saw that you can assign completed Pomodoros to them, but they seem to have vanished now that I have submitted Outcomes.

Hah! Of course :smiley:

1 Like

Also, it looks like in a few places you have prefixed your intention and/or your outcome with (. e.g. you wrote (3) instead of 3). Does that mean anything or affect certain things?

1 Like

To put this another way, I am wondering why clicking the ‘x’ on the Today page:

Doesn’t do anything to the Dashboard’s Outcomes section:

1 Like

Are there any plans to allow recurring tasks in Complice? If I could have a “reconcile YNAB” task automatically inserted into my daily intentions list under the “Budget” goal, that’d make me a lot more likely to use Complice to track my activity. Doing certain small tasks every day can really add up, but having to enter them manually every single morning can make them feel too tedious to bother tracking.

2 Likes

I was thinking about this, and I was actually thinking Beeminder could power this if there was an automatic “Make an intention for each eep!” setup. Today I use Beeminder to make myself YNAB every 2 weeks, and it would be awesome if that could just feed into Complice automatically.

2 Likes

Another example would be “reply zero”. I’ve already got a Beeminder goal that tracks how many times I’m able to get emails tagged with the @reply label in Gmail down to zero. I just enter a 1 manually every time I do it. But I’d really like to have an automatic “@reply zero” next action populated every morning in Complice, rather than having to add the task manually each time.

1 Like

Correct. In the evening (by default around 8pm I think) a little “submit outcomes” button appears. You can access it early using the hotkey ‘o’. Also, if you don’t submit your outcomes at the end of the day, and then you log in the next day, you’ll be shown the outcomes submitter immediately, encouraging you to do that before setting your intention.

I think this actually isn’t a stupid question. The short answer is that Complice has evolved gradually from an email-based system that was a lot simpler… you raise a good point, that I haven’t really thought about (due to being blinded by familiarity). I think that there probably exists a much better way to specify outcomes but I don’t yet know quite what it is.

Ohh, regarding clicking the x doing nothing to the today page, that’s just kind of a bug. Not a glitch: it’s a bug in the way the database (etc) was designed, where the today-outcomes-submitter uses the state of the today-page and the dashboard-outcomes-submitter just uses the intentions. It’s normally not quite so manual.

It indeed parses, though it doesn’t have to be at the beginning. It uses a fairly complex regex to detect enough/not enough. Currently the not-enough regex is /(not.{0,6}enough|fail|nada|no(n|p)e)/i and the enough one is /(enough|enuf|nailed it|\bwin\b|winkitty|winsauce|success|victory|goo+d|done|yes|y(e|u)p|ye?ah|yay|good)/i (although there are a few edge-cases handled too).

It isn’t currently used for much in the way of numerical stats, although I think its role in visually indicating how goals are going in the grid is helpful. You can’t beemind it, and I think it would be unwise to, since it’s usually a relatively subjective judgment and that’ll encourage rationalization.

No. Well, not yet, anyway, and I don’t have any specific plans for doing much with them. Their main effect is visual: it’s pretty easy to see that a starred task is significant.

Ahh, yeah. I would love to integrate with Strict Workflow but I don’t think they support that. Huh! Apparently it’s open source! So it would totally be possible to fork them and set it up to receive start/stop commands from Complice (or conversely, to start the timer or create tomatoes in Complice when the strict workflow timer is run). Could also have it display your current task (a la Complice New Tab Page ext instead of just “Page blocked”.

Not much; again, they get sent to beeminder if you want, but atm the data they contain is kind of lost when you submit your outcomes. As I said, outcomes really need improvement.

1 Like

I like this approach! I definitely run my life around Complice, one big piece of which is making lots of other places be arranged by the same goals as in Complice. So in workflowy… (colored tags by this userstyle set to match e.g. #1CO*)

And then in gmail…

and elsewhere too.

1 Like

Oooh! There’s instructions too! Definitely never saw this yesterday. I would have been much less confused if I hadn’t submitted via the Dashboard :smile:

It also looks like the Today tab’s version of Outcomes does autopopulate things as - or + based on what I did to the Intentions. My comments on manual bookkeeping now only pertain to the Dashboard Outcomes section. I think my new conclusion is that the Outcomes section on the Dashboard is a trap, and that I should only use the Today Outcomes?

Ooh well I sure do love regexes. I’ll let you know if it ever fails to understand something I expected it to. :smile:

Hmmm that is a fair point. I suppose it is easier to be honest if there’s no money on it.

Cool, good to know.

You might consider starting with https://github.com/maggiedelano/Strict-Workflow-Beeminder instead of the vanilla one you linked, since it already includes Beeminder specifics, thanks to @maggied and a few others.

2 Likes

There are! In the meantime, the hack I use to get around this is that I have a daily boilerplate that I insert using a text completion app (in my case, autokey, since I’m on linux).

Totally. I mean, intuitively speaking, if you’ve got an eep day on your goal, and Complice knows it, then that should be taken into account when you’re submitting your intentions, etc. As mentioned in the original bm blog post (I think?) I’m also working on a thing that will show you your beeminder goals & time-til-derail on your today page… with a quick add box to boot. That’s not quite as sophisticated as auto-pulling it, but would be a good start and useful in general.

2 Likes

Yes. Basically, if I had this then I think I see how Complice could fit into my life. I am trying to figure out how to use both of these products together, but right now they are completely separate and I think that will just lead me to a mental breakdown.

If Beeminder eep!s automatically became Intentions, then I would have the invariant If I do all my Intentions, I have done all my eep!s. and then I would not have to look at my Beeminder dashboard anymore. In that universe, Complice is the source of truth for what needs doing today, with Beeminder as a cron engine for ensuring certain Intentions get created and actioned periodically.

1 Like

Yeah I think that submitting today’s outcomes on the dashboard is just bad news bears, especially for new users. You didn’t use to be able to, but that was added so that people could submit past outcomes if they hadn’t done so (a much-requested feature).

And the “(” prefix doesn’t mean anything within the app, but I use it to demarcate daily items that I insert with my text expander. In the future it might actually formally distinguish said tasks or something.

2 Likes

I have a question about scope. I’m a freelancer, with a couple of regular clients, but I’m also a strategic partner for a firm that I’m trying to help get off the ground in the hopes that it will eventually have enough business to give me basically as much work as I want whenever I want it. Since I’ve been there since the beginning and have done a lot to get it where it is currently, I’ll have first or second dibs on any work that comes in once it’s really doing a lot of steady business. When new clients come to me these days, I generally pass them straight along to this firm, but I haven’t tried to get my current clients to switch from doing business with me to doing business with the firm, since that seems unnecessarily complicated for all involved.

So I originally made a goal specifically for work that I’m doing with and for that firm. But then there’s a ton of stuff I do every day with my own clients that I’m not sure how to categorize. Should I fold all that work into the firm’s goal and make it just a general “business” goal, since it’s all mostly the same kind of work? Should I have two separate goals, one for current clients and one for that one particular firm? Or should I just keep my current client work uncategorized using &), since it’s relatively stable and I’m not doing a lot of moving and shaking and hustling to get more of it?

4 Likes

Honestly, all of these sound like decent options :smile: But let’s see… If the work is stable and not something that requires a lot of attention, then I definitely wouldn’t recommend having two goals. (So either merged goal or as-misc). So then my next question would be “how much of your work is on your firm vs in your firm?” As in, you said that the technical work is basically the same, but it seems like there’s an additional kind of work you’re doing with regard to the firm, more managerial or businessy.

If there’s a decent amount of that latter stuff (or if there’s only a few hours a week but it’s really critical and easy to ignore) then my suggestion would be to break it down like this:

  1. business / grow the firm
  2. do work for clients

Maybe name them more elegantly. For Complice, I have my work broken down into three goals:

  1. complice product
  2. complice onboarding
  3. complice marketing

There’s a bit of overlap, and I think that in a month or so I’ll be able to archive goal 2. But having it as a clear area of focus has been really valuable for the last month or so (I’ve more than doubled my conversion rate in that time).

2 Likes

interestingly, that doesn’t match what I entered this morning… “nothing”

I’ve been meaning to take the Complice plunge for some time, thanks for the huge nudge. Like @drtall, I like to use relatively few tools to run my life. Here’s hoping that this one will make the cut!

1 Like

@malcolm, there’s a tantalising chunk of text at the bottom of complice emails that says

Responses other than Complice data get sent to my inbox

Does that mean that we can email intentions to the auto-malcolm?

If email integration is a workable option, that might help with some of the automation desired by @drtall and @nepomuk

PS: I couldn’t find a help section in the app, so am asking here instead!

1 Like

Thanks for the guidance! It definitely helped clarify some things. I think I’ve realized what I want most out of Complice. It’s the ability to set an agenda the night before, be able to rearrange and add to it throughout the day, and then have a list of everything I got done that evening in easily copy-pastable format. This is something I’ve been wanting for years (spurred on by not quite satisfactory offerings from iDoneThis and the late lamented Lazymeter), and Complice is the first app to come along in a very long while that seems like it’ll actually do that for me in a sustainable way. Three friends and I have been using a Dreamwidth group off and on for many years to update each other on our daily activities and keep each other accountable. I stopped posting there regularly because it was too much trouble to try to reconstruct from scratch what I’d done every day. Now that I can just copy and paste outcomes from Complice, I’m much more motivated to start using it again.

So I’m retiring my Reply Zero Beeminder goal (which I’ve had since October 2012!) and have established a Complice Total Outcomes goal in its place. Starting with 21 tasks a week, which should be pretty easy. I’ve also decided to revise my Complice goals to make them a bit broader. I know you recommend specificity, but I’ve been focusing lately on how to balance three big areas of my life (Business, Household, and my Open Source Project), and I think that’s the most helpful way for me to group things right now. I’ve also added in my NaNoWriMo book as a fourth category, and I’m hoping to keep it going (into editing and maybe even some kind of limited distribution) after November, but we’ll see how that goes.

Thanks for being so responsive in this forum! I’m really excited about making Complice a central hub for my life and habits. I’ll still be using Trello, Habitica, and of course Beeminder, but hopefully Complice will help me integrate all of them in a cohesive way without too much redundancy.

2 Likes

Oh definitely! Is that not obvious? :open_mouth: Okay, clearly auto-malcolm is failing, and needs to be more clearly a bot. What do you guys think about personifying my little pacmanesque spinner and making the emails come from it?

Chompy the Complice bot

At any rate, yes, you can definitely email intentions. That was the only way to submit them for the first 6 months of Complice’s existence.

1 Like